CHRISTMAS came to Cliffe Castle as the Keighley park celebrated its grand reopening.

The family event was held by Bradford Council to mark completion of the £4.5 million restoration of Cliffe Castle Park. Around 3,000 visitors attended the park’s museum on Sunday making it one of the busiest days ever.

Inside the museum Santa, a vintage barrel organ and carol service entertained visitors, with Ingrow and Long Lee Primary School pupils singing carols.

Snow began to fall mid-afternoon giving the park and market an authentic Christmas feel. The Herr Jens Brass Band and Christmas tree stilt-walkers provided entertainment.

Holy Family School students, who sing at Cliffe Castle every Christmas, finished the day with traditional carols in the museum’s Bracewell Smith Hall

Opening speeches were made by Cllr Sarah Ferriby, the council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, council leader Cllr Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, John Williams of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the Lord Mayor of Bradford Cllr Abid Hussain.

The ribbon was cut by Jennifer Smith, the longest-serving member of Cliffe Castle Park Conservation Group.

Cllr Ferriby said: “It was a really enjoyable day despite the cold and it was great that so many people turned to up to take the opportunity to celebrate the event. I

Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “The glasshouse is superb and the park now has fountains fully restored and working. It does Keighley proud. What has been achieved is very impressive.”

Museums manager Daru Rooke said that loyalty to the Cliffe Castle Park and Museum was very strong in the district, adding: “The park is truly dazzling.”

New café operators Suzanne Thompson and Mary Carroll were able to chat with visitors about their vision for the Cliffe Castle Pavilion. They will get the café running to welcome the public in early January.

The event was organised by Bradford Council and the Cliffe Castle Park Conservation Group, who have worked together on the improvements.

The restoration of the park’s Victorian features first began in June 2016 when Bradford Council successfully bid £3.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme.